When we got our five ewes a couple of years ago, we needed to keep our small acres clear of grass, have a bit of fun breeding some lambs, and finally converting the progeny into 'table sheep', i.e. into the freezer.
Our lambs were born last September/ October, and although they happened only a couple of weeks after my being badly broken on my motorbike, I really enjoyed their antics and watching them grow into healthy young creatures.
Then the drought hit, and we had no serious rain for some months, leaving our small patch of land totally denuded of grass. So we converted an area into a 'feedlot', and fed our flock of ten mums and youngsters on grass hay from my man's family farm and expensive lucerne. They all stayed fat and happy, but caused me some anxiety as they watched me all day, reminding me their next meal might be due (when it wasn't).
Time to move on to the next stage, we decided, and I began to make inquiries as to the best method of dispatch that would cause them and me the least anxiety. Meeting your maker is rarely a pleasant event, whether it be animal or human, but it was important to me it would be as expedient as possible.
So, Monday of last week, four were bundled into the trailer and taken down to the local 'dispatcher'. One cute little ewe stayed behind and went to our neighbors behind to be babysat by their lamb, three alpacas and a rather grumpy goat.
The mums, who immediately forgot their progeny, were put onto the trailer and carted off to be united with a new Cheviot lover, who was happy to be sent on a honeymoon with our lucerne fat mommas.
They have gone on an extended holiday to the family farm, where they are wandering happily with their woolly man, heads down and bums up, eating grass and making babies for October.
Me? I'm having a rest from all this negotiating and moving 'the flock'.
Our freezer is now full, and my conscience is clearer than I expected. To me, being that connected to the meat that we eat is better than fronting up to the supermarket fridges. We are lucky to be in the position to do it the way we have.